Is a Resin Shortage Still Affecting Poly Bag Lead Times?

Is a Resin Shortage Still Affecting Poly Bag Lead Times?

The pandemic has had a huge impact on manufacturers from a variety of industries, including the poly bag industry. The good news is some have been adapting to the changes and improving procedures so that they can continue to provide their customers with high-quality products. 

How are manufacturers responding differently now? What are some specific ways we’ve changed or improved the processes since COVID-19 started? And most importantly, is there still any risk of lead times being impacted by resin shortages? Let’s dive into all three questions below!

What Caused the Resin Shortage?

Since the beginning of 2018, China has experienced an economic slowdown. The Chinese government has been trying to prevent an economic collapse by encouraging companies to move their manufacturing operations out of China and into other countries where labor costs are lower (like Malaysia). As a result, the largest supplier of resin in the world — China — has halted production.

Additionally, global demand for packaging materials has increased significantly due to an increase in consumer spending and new regulations on plastic waste disposal around the world (for example: France recently banned all disposable plastic bags). 

Many poly bag manufacturers were unable to meet this surge in demand for their products and experienced a significant drop-off in production. As a result, supply fell far below what retailers needed to keep up with customer demand.

How Can We Avoid Shortages and Delays in the Future?

The best way for the industry to avoid shortages like these in the future is to invest in recycling, renewable energy, and R&D (research and development). It’s also important for each of us to do our part and reduce waste. 

Proper recycling can result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less energy being used during production. It also helps keep materials circulating within our economy instead of being buried in landfills where they cannot decompose naturally for decades or centuries!

The goal of R&D is to reduce costs and improve efficiency in production through technological advancement and process restructuring. This can be done by reducing waste products, which can then be recycled or used in other ways. It can also be done by improving the transportation process for materials needed.

One recent research and development improvement is the addition of plant-based polymers to traditional poly bags, which helps to increase the biodegredation process if bags are not properly recycled. These greener poly bags are one great R&D step towards a safer, more environmentally friendly, and more stable poly bag industry. 

Are Manufacturers Responding Differently to the Resin Shortage Now?

There are always external forces at play that can affect resin supply, such as natural disasters or market instabilities. More broadly, the industry has learned some important lessons about how to deal with unexpected crises. 

Larger manufacturers, in particular, are now taking a hard look at their processes and looking for ways to make them more efficient—for example, by investing in new technology or reducing waste on production lines. 

They’re also reevaluating their supplier relationships and ensuring they have multiple sources lined up so they won’t be left stranded if one manufacturer stops producing material due to unforeseen circumstances — like hurricanes or pandemics. But some in the industry are still struggling to adapt and are forced to learn what happens if you are too set in your ways.

A-Pac Manufacturing is proud to deliver some of the shortest lead times in the industry. As a small, custom manufacturer, we’re much more nimble than massive corporations. Much like the large ship analogy, it is easier for us to adjust our course and stay flexible as the industry continues to change. 

We’re able to manufacture the custom bags you need at no minimum order and according to your schedule, and we’re proud to have maintained our short lead times despite the recent shortage. For the bags you want, when you want them, give the A-Pac Manufacturing team a call.

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
The Best Packaging Solutions for Small Parts

The Best Packaging Solutions for Small Parts

If your business sells or deals with small parts on a regular basis, you’ll need an effective packaging solution to store, transport, and display them. When it comes to small parts packaging, the two leading options to consider are plastic containers and plastic (poly) bags. So, in this article, we’ll be reviewing the features and advantages of each option to help you determine which one is right for your business.

Plastic Containers for Small Parts Packaging

Plastic containers come in a wide variety of shapes including round, square, barrel, clamshell, and specialty dimensions. Round, square, and barrel containers are good for bulk quantities; with screw-top lids for easy access and reusability. Clamshell containers, on the other hand, are better in situations that call for permanently-sealed small quantities (e.g. retail). 

At around 12 mil, plastic containers are thicker than plastic bags. And, unlike poly bags, the firm yet flexible plastic — which is typically polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or HDPE — holds its shape, providing more protection for the contents. 

Advantages of Plastic Containers

Strength & Durability — As mentioned above, plastic containers provide a very high degree of protection. The durable polyethylene plastic serves as an effective barrier against dirt, dust, moisture, and other contaminants. The same can be said for poly bags — however, plastic containers’ rigidity grants additional protection against impacts, pressure, and punctures (especially for products with sharp edges/corners). Of course, that added protection comes at a cost, so plastic containers are really best for parts that need that added barrier. Otherwise, poly bags are likely the more suitable option. 

Reusable Bulk Storage — Plastic containers are lightweight yet rigid and durable, making them an excellent option for storing small parts in bulk. Since plastic containers often feature screw-top lids, they can be used continuously, providing quick-and-easy access to the contents within.

Shelf Appeal — Compared to poly bags, plastic containers can have more shelf appeal in the eyes of some consumers. So, if you’re selling small parts in a retail setting and you’re striving to position your products as top-tier, plastic clamshell containers may be preferable.

Plastic (Poly) Bags for Small Parts Packaging

Poly bags are made from thin plastic tubing or sheeting and can be ordered in virtually any dimensions. Small parts bags are often made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) — although some bags may use High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). The typical thickness for small parts bags ranges from ½ mil up to 6 mil — with 4+ mil generally being reserved for sharp objects like screws and nails that pose an increased puncture risk.

Advantages of Plastic Bags for Small Parts Packaging

Cost-Effective – Poly bags are an extremely economical packaging solution. This is largely due to the low costs of plastic production compared to other materials. For example, plastic costs 20x less to produce than paper or cloth. And, since poly bags use less material and are simpler to manufacture, they cost even less than plastic containers.

Efficient – Wicketed poly bags (which are seamlessly dispensed from a wicket wire) can be paired with an automated packaging system to enable rapid, efficient bagging. This streamlined bagging process can save time while also reducing packaging costs.

Lightweight & Compact – Poly bags are inherently thin and flat, making them very lightweight and compact in large quantities. This can be a significant advantage during storage and shipping. For example, if your business uses a high volume of packaging, plastic bags will take up far less space in your shop or storage facility than plastic containers.

Versatile & Customizable — Given the versatility of polyethylene plastic, poly bags are highly customizable. In addition to coming in virtually any size, small parts bags can be customized with logos, colors, special sealing options, and additives to modify the clarity, texture, and overall appearance. This will enable you to achieve the exact look and feel to match your brand.

Short Production Times — If you’re interested in ordering custom small parts bags, you won’t have to wait long to receive them: some poly bag manufacturers can fulfill custom orders in just 2-3 weeks. *Here at A-Pac Manufacturing, we take pride in our ability to offer quick turnaround times on custom orders. 

Custom Poly Bag Manufacturing

If your business needs to store and transport small parts, poly bags are an ideal packaging solution. At A-Pac Manufacturing, we provide customized small parts bags in the quantities you need, when you need them. Contact our team to learn more about our poly bag options and customization capabilities.

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What Certifications Are Needed to Manufacture Plastic Bags?

What Certifications Are Needed to Manufacture Plastic Bags?

Partnering with a supplier is a substantial business commitment. As such, it’s important to review suppliers’ certifications when evaluating options. Among other things, certifications demonstrate a manufacturer’s commitment to quality, safety, and legal compliance.

On that note, if your business relies on (or is in need of) a poly bag supplier, you may be wondering which certifications apply to the plastic bag manufacturing process. To shed some light on the subject, in this article we’ll explain the three types of certifications that we hold here at A-Pac Manufacturing, and why those certifications are important to you.

Government Approval: FDA & USDA

To protect consumers and verify products are safe to use, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rigorously examine chemicals and materials to assess toxicity and other potential risk factors. In regard to plastic bag manufacturing, a common objective of the FDA review process is to determine if a plastic and its chemical ingredients are safe and suitable for food packaging. If so, it will qualify as “food-grade.”

The plastic is tested in a variety of conditions to ensure it’s not affected by temperature change, moisture, oil, other chemicals, etc. If the plastic and its ingredients/additives pass all tests and safety standards, it can then receive FDA approval. However, for plastic packaging to be deemed food-grade in its final form, it must still meet two other sets of certification requirements (which we’ll now discuss below).

Quality Management Certification: ISO 9001

Founded in 1947 and active in 165 countries, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a well-known and respected global standard-setting body. One of the most popular ISO standards is the ISO 9000 family, which pertains to quality management.

The ISO 9001 certification (part of the ISO 9000 family) establishes a quality management model to help businesses achieve — and consistently maintain — a high degree of quality in their products and services. The ISO 9001 quality management model is very applicable to the plastic bag manufacturing process. However, it can be implemented by virtually any organization dedicated to pursuing superior quality standards — regardless of size or industry.

To earn an ISO 9001 certificate, an organization will be evaluated across the following seven quality management categories:

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of people
  • Process approach
  • Continuous improvement
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

Why is ISO 9001 Relevant to Plastic Bag Manufacturing?

In the context of plastic bag manufacturing, recall from above that a common objective is to obtain a food-grade status. To qualify as food-grade, plastic must not only be made from approved materials and ingredients — it must also be manufactured in a safe, clean facility…and that’s where the ISO quality management standards come into play. Most food-grade plastic manufacturers must comply with ISO 9000 as the minimum operating standard.

Food Safety Certification: FSSC 22000

In addition to FDA/USDA approval and the ISO 9001, there’s a third certification that further confirms the safety of food-grade plastic: the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000). 

Developed by the Global Food Safety Initiative — an independent standard-setting organization for food safety — the FSSC 22000 provides a comprehensive set of stringent food safety standards to guide the entire food product lifecycle, from production to purchase. As such, it extends far beyond plastic bag manufacturing to include any company in the food supply chain (farming/agriculture, meat products, animal feed, food ingredients, food packaging, etc.).

Since we’ve already touched on the ISO 9001, it’s worth noting that the FSSC 22000 certification is not entirely separate from ISO standards. Rather, the FSSC 22000 is simply an expansion of ISO’s food safety management system: the ISO 22000 (which works together with ISO 9001 quality management standards). When paired together, the ISO 9001 and FSSC 22000 form a powerful combination to establish superior levels of safety and quality.

The Benefits of Quality and Safety Certifications for the Manufacture of Plastic Bags

When companies are held to high standards, everyone wins. Certifications like the ISO 9001 and FSSC 22000 lead companies to produce better, safer products — ultimately protecting consumers and fostering trust within business-to-business relationships. Furthermore, maintaining such certifications helps companies stay compliant with legislation and grants them access to a wider international market.

At A-Pac Manufacturing, we’re proud to hold FDA/USDA, ISO, and FSSC certifications. These certificates are a reflection of our dedication to providing safe, dependable, high-quality products to our customers. If you’re interested in ordering poly bags, plastic liners, or plastic film and tubing, we’re happy to help you find an ideal solution. Give us a call or contact us online today.

 

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Poly Bag vs. Cello Bag Packaging

Poly Bag vs. Cello Bag Packaging

You know you want packaging that provides a clear view of your product, but which clear plastic option is right for your application? To answer this, you’ll first need to understand the difference between cello (cellophane) and poly (polypropylene) bags. 

Poly Bag vs. Cello Bag Packaging: Which Is Right for You? 

Poly bags and cello bags are two different types of plastic bag packaging options. While they may not seem all that different at first glance, there are some key distinctions between the two. Let’s explore them below, as well as their pros and cons, so you can get a better idea of which may be best for your specific use. 

Poly Bag Packaging — Pros

The high clarity of poly bag packaging allows for clear visibility of your product, but because polypropylene is thick, it protects the product from damage, moisture, vapors and dust — every retailer’s arch nemesis — very well. 

Polypropylene comes in a variety of thicknesses, which allows it to offer a wider range of applications, including the ability to package heavier items like tools and furniture. But perhaps the most popular use of poly bags is packaging food — and it’s easy to see why!

Poly bags are strong and durable, yet flexible, which makes them tear resistant — a key factor in protecting the food they contain. They also provide moisture and odor barriers that prevent evaporation and exposure to bacteria, preserving freshness and taste and extending shelf life. In fact, because poly bags are not as breathable as cello bags, they are able to keep food products fresher for longer.

Lastly, poly bags don’t cost much to produce, making them a cost-effective solution without sacrificing clarity and quality. 

Poly Bag Packaging — Cons

Though they are recyclable, poly bags consist of man-made materials, and only some types are fully biodegradable. 

However, technological advances have resulted in the creation of eco-friendly, plant-based poly bags that combine organic materials with the synthetic ones typically used. This makes today’s poly bags not only a practical option, but a sustainable one as well. 

Cello Bag Packaging — Pros

Cellophane is a thin and clear material made from organic cellulose, which is found in the cell walls of green plants. This makes cello bags biodegradable, a characteristic more and more companies are starting to prioritize. 

Translucent in appearance with a crackly feel, cello bags are great for showing off your product and ideal for wrapping things like flower bouquets, gift baskets, or small food items like candies, nuts, popcorn, and chocolate. 

In fact, cello bags are often used for food packaging because of their low permeability to moisture, bacteria, oils, greases, and air. The material does not affect the flavor of the food product within it, and the non-porous properties of cello bags contain odors and preserve freshness, at least for a short period of time. 

Cello Bag Packaging — Cons

Because cellophane is such a breathable material, it can shorten the shelf life of some products, making it a less beneficial choice for long-term food storage needs. It doesn’t have much shelf life itself, either, before it starts to become discolored.

Also, the thinness of cellophane makes it susceptible to tearing, and it tends to be pricey to produce (which means pricey to purchase!). 

The Verdict: Poly Bags Just Might be Perfect For Your Needs!

At A-Pac Manufacturing, poly bags are our speciality. We offer durable, quality bags in the custom sizes, and quantities you need, as well as the branding elements you want. If you’re interested in placing an order for your facility, no matter how big or small, give us a call or contact us online to learn how we can help find the perfect packaging for you.

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
Why Poly Bag Packaging is Still Essential in 2022

Why Poly Bag Packaging is Still Essential in 2022

When searching for a packaging solution, sustainability has become an important factor for businesses everywhere. As such, many companies are leery of plastic options, despite the positives of versatility and affordability. 

However, technological advances have actually made plastic more sustainable than you might think.  Alternative packaging materials like glass and cardboard require more energy and water to produce, are heavier to ship, and tend to be more expensive — both for you and for consumers! In addition, plastic is a safer choice for consumers since it doesn’t break like glass or disintegrate like cardboard, keeping whatever’s inside contained.

Let’s take a closer look at how advances like plant-based additives have made poly bag packaging not only a practical choice, but also a sustainable and essential one. 

What Makes Plant-Based Poly Bag Packaging so Essential?

Plant-based plastic, also called bioplastic, contains scraps or waste materials from agricultural resources such as corn, wheat, bamboo, sugar cane, and rice. These raw materials are combined with traditional ones found in plastic to make a more eco-friendly poly bag option. 

Today, many companies are looking for ways to leave a smaller footprint, yet are still in need of packaging that offers cost-effectiveness and practicality. Plant-based plastic has become essential to these businesses in order to achieve both their economical and environmentally-friendly goals.  

As an added bonus, because sustainability is so highly regarded, using plant-based poly bags enhances not only the value of your product, but of your company as well. 

How is Plant-Based Poly Bag Packaging More Planet Friendly? 

Plant-based poly bags put less strain on the earth because they are made from abundant, renewable resources, which don’t typically require pesticides or chemicals to be produced. 

In addition, fewer fossil fuels are used, and thus fewer emissions are released in the manufacturing of plant-based poly bags. And since plastic weighs less than alternative packaging materials like metal, wood, glass, and even cardboard, there are fewer fuel emissions in their transport as well (on top of fewer costs!).

Finally, plant-based poly bag packaging is recyclable, and in some cases biodegradable. 

Why Choose Plant-Based Poly Bag Packaging?

Let’s face it, plastic bags aren’t going away any time soon! Despite the bad rap plastic gets, it remains essential for many industries including healthcare, manufacturing, and agriculture. Fortunately, technological advances like plant-based additives have helped make plastic a solution that not only helps companies stay healthy but also the earth. 

If you need packaging that’s cost-effective and practical but you are also striving to be more sustainable, plant-based poly bags offer all the durability, versatility, and affordability of traditional plastic options with fewer negative effects on the environment. In other words, when you choose plant-based poly bag packaging, you can have your cake and eat it too! 

A-Pac Manufacturing is doing its part to help create more sustainable options for businesses like yours. We offer custom formulas with the plant-based additive NuPlastiQ which deliver the same durable poly bags you trust, with up to 20% fewer fossil fuels. Contact us online or give us a call to learn more. 

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
How to Package Food for Retail

How to Package Food for Retail

Food packaging has a big job to do! It needs to fight for a place on the grocery shelf and stand out amongst competitors. At the same time, it needs to be cost-effective and practical, easy to ship and stock, but mostly, food packaging needs to be safe! After all, what good is retail packaging if the food inside it isn’t fit to eat?

So, how do you find packaging for your product that checks off all these boxes? Check out these guidelines for a helpful place to start!

How to Package Food for Retail So It’s Safe

Truly, the number one goal of all food packaging is to preserve food quality and freshness by protecting it from any chemical or environmental contamination as well as physical damage, from storage to transit to shelf. 

Different foods have different requirements, so first off, it’s important to choose appropriate packaging for the type of food you are selling. For instance, if your product is frozen, your packaging will need to hold up in extremely cold temperatures and be thick enough and seal well enough to avoid freezer burn. On the other hand, fresh-baked bread would be best packaged in a thinner, sealed poly bag to keep moisture in and the bread soft.    

Plastic is a popular choice because it’s not only affordable, but also flexible and versatile, coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, strengths, and thicknesses. Just as it’s important to find the packaging option that fulfills the safety requirements of your product, the size and shape of your packaging matters as well. It plays a vital role not only in the ease of transport, shelving, and storage but also in ensuring your product is not squished or able to move around excessively. 

Packaging that is too big or too small inhibits your product’s shelf life potential, so in addition to making sure you choose packaging that fits safety standards, make sure it also just plain fits your product!

How to Package Food for Retail So It Sells

While the main goal of all retail food packaging is keeping food safe and protected, the presentation of your packaging needs to stand out from others. After all, what good is the perfect packaging if your product doesn’t sell? 

That means, you not only need to consider your product’s shelf life, but also how your product looks, fits, and competes on the shelf. 

From your logo to the colors and font you choose to the shape of your product, packaging design should catch customers’ attention and help them to recognize your brand. It should also be easy to pick up, take home, and store. 

Of course, besides your branding, it’s important to make sure you have all the FDA requirements on your packaging as well. These include:

  • Identification of product
  • Net Weight
  • Name and Address of the Manufacturer, distributor, or packer
  • Ingredients in order of usage from greatest to least
  • Nutrition Facts
  • Allergens
  • UPC barcode for tracking

 

How to Package Food for Retail So It’s Safe AND Sells

To recap, when choosing retail food packaging, consider the type, size, and shape of the packaging needed to protect your food while also reinforcing your brand and standing out on the shelf. You should also think about ease of stocking and transporting. It may seem like a lot of boxes to check, but it’s actually easier than it sounds: 

If you’re ready to package your food product for retail, A-Pac manufacturing offers food-grade packaging options at no minimum order, and on your schedule. Give us a call to learn more about our custom packaging and printing, or simply visit us online. We can help you make sure your product stays safe and make sure it sells! 

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta